The Survey, 2009
Issue № 315

Findings from the Web Design Survey, 2009

The findings are in from the survey for people who make websites. Once again, we have crunched the data this way and that, figured out what the numbers were telling us, and assembled the sliced and diced data-bytes into nifty charts and graphs for your edification and pleasure.

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As in years past, what emerges is the first true picture of the profession of web design as it is practiced by men and women of all ages, across all continents, in corporations, agencies, non-profits, and freelance configurations.

The world knows that the web has changed everything. It is disrupting assumptions and turning art, politics, business, and publishing on their heads every second of every day, in ways we cannot yet see, and at speeds that defy our ability to understand and Google’s power to index it all.

But the world has not yet paid attention to the web designers, developers, project managers, information architects, writers, editors, marketers, educators, and other professionals who make the web what it is.

That’s where you and we come in, and it’s what each year’s survey results are all about.

As always, readers wishing to perform additional analyses may do so via anonymized raw data files provided at the end of the findings.

Our thanks to everyone who participated in the 2009 survey, to the people who waited so patiently and with such good humor for the results, to all who will dig more deeply to find their own results, and to everyone who cares profoundly about the field and its advancement.

The 2010 survey will be offered in our very next issue. We encourage you to participate and tell your friends and colleagues—and we promise to compile the 2010 results faster than we were able to produce the 2009 stuff.

And now, with no further ado, please enjoy the findings.

View the 2009 Survey Findings

20 Reader Comments

  1. It’s interesting to see that the numbers of people excited by the field dropped in 2009. I’m expecting (hoping?) that that number’s going to peak in the 2010 survey – I think the web has changed a lot in the past year, and it’s more exciting now than in a long time.

    Or maybe it’s just me.

  2. I’ve garnered many interesting insights from this excellent piece of work… but i can’t get to the raw data; I want to discover working hours by geographic region.

  3. Generally a terrific read. But a couple of areas of caution:

    perceived gender bias – most respondents are male. I’d like to see this question broken into male / female responses to the question. I’ll bet they look quite different.

    ethnic bias – again, let’s ask the tiny minority of folks who aren’t caucasian what they think.

    employee of… – please break this out. Non-profits do not belong in the same category as “company” (think corporate). Having worked in a variety of startups, not-for-profits, and fed gov contractors, I can say anecdotally that lumping these all together is awkward at best. They are very different types of organizations.

  4. gef05 raises a good point.

    Topic of perceived bias aside, what saddens me most as an African-American designer (male) is that more blacks didn’t respond to the survey. Heck, I can’t complain much if _I_ didn’t. (If I’d known about it I might have; I’ve only recently become a moreso-regular reader.)

    There are so many factors one could attribute, each warranting their own discussions, but in short I think that immersion into mainstream design culture can be challenging for a lot of blacks. Immersion into mainstream culture _period_ can be challenging. The worst part, in my opinion, is that “we” are to blame; the issue is so largely self-inflicted. Not that discrimination never happens in the 21st century, but one can’t be upset at missing out on the best of what the world has to offer if he (or she) can’t muster up the courage needed to engage it.

    And sure, we all need help, but there comes a point when you have to be willing to do “what no one has done before”, if you really want results that no one has seen before.

  5. I am not shocked by the number of people excited by the field dropped in 2009 and i must agree that the web has changed alot in the last 12 months and i think in the next 12 months its only going to change more!

  6. This year, I move from a privileged position as one of the 1.8% of 18 and under dabblers in web design into the massive majority of the 19-29… just lost my claim to fame I guess! hehe

    Really, a very interesting look into the current industry and comparisons with previous years. Thanks ALA!

  7. bq. Developers lead the pack, followed by “Other.” The high percentage of “Other” suggests that we need additional titles for the next edition of the survey.

    I think this is more an indication of how young the field of Web design is. Compared to other fields such as law, medicine, engineering or even computer science, web design is still in its infancy. Therefore we are still discovering what actually the job titles should be.

    Leading on from that, there is a quite disparate nature of tasks involved in Web Design. The number of different hats any given person within Web Design might have to wear is quite large. Web authoring, web design and web programming are all quite different tasks and you would not normally expect one person do so such a broad range of tasks in say law, medicine or engineering. However in web design this is the norm not the exception in my experience.

    Finally the lack of any formal accredition system means anybody can call themselves all three of these at once. I am not saying this is a bad thing, just that I am not sure we need addittional titles. I think the high percentage of “Other” simply reflect that Web Designers do so many different job descriptions at the same time.

  8. gef05, I think http://aneventapart.com/alasurvey2009/07.html carries at least some of the answers you’re seeking. Figures 7.3 and 7.5 come immediately to mind. If you’re looking for more, we do offer anonymized source data for anyone to do their own analyses. We strongly encourage it, in fact! Some of the most interesting results of past years have been from people who took the data, pulled out the cohort that interested them, and looked deeper.

  9. Is it just me or is programming one the 40’s way too low? I know it’s a fast-paced job and you have to study more than a layer but, even so, scares me to see so little people developing on that age range.

  10. I am a black female from the Caribbean island of Barbados. I am making the assumption that the Caribbean is lumped under South America. The statistics are indeed very interesting and many of them are quite accurate for our region.

    In the Caribbean, we tend to be chief cooks and bottle washers, meaning that even if you have a title of web developer, it is expected that you have the majority of the claimed skills as well.

    We have challenges with salaries and costs of web development work as well as with skill gaps. One example of this is that salaries in the industry tend to be low but costs of training are very high(this is due to lack of training opportunities within the region).

    Don’t even get me started on biases.

  11. The analysis of the bias questions sounds one-sided. This could be a result of the question summary, unfortunately I can’t find a link to the full questions to verify this.

    For example, a question is titled “Perceived gender bias by gender” and the analysis states “Again, women perceive that gender bias has hurt them professionally to a much greater degree than men…” Would it not be more accurate to say “A much greater percentage of women than men perceive that there is gender bias in the workplace.”? If somebody states they believe there is bias, how do you know which way they believe the bias goes? Is there scope to say you believe there is bias towards your own sex/race/etc?

    I for example believe that there is gender bias towards hiring women over equivalent men in many larger companies. There should be scope for a respondant to express such a view.

  12. “ethnic bias — again, let’s ask the tiny minority of folks who aren’t caucasian what they think.”

    “let’s ask the tiny minority of folks who aren’t caucasian”

    “tiny minority”

    Because, in reality, there is no ethnic bias? Uh, ok.

    In any event, it’s a survey and surveys aren’t about “accuracy”. The Ideal Mean is a b!tch.

  13. It’s interesting to see that the numbers of people excited by the field dropped in 2009, as previously commented. In the UK the web is getting stronger and last year, as you may or may not know, internet advertising took over from TV advertising for revenue share. The male/female issue is very interesting as we are in the proces of developing an online store for a company which has a web presence, and whose directors thought that they were being targeted by a male audience, so all their marketing went toward male imagery etc. We did some research using Alexa and other information sources and it was found that the demographic was actually women working from home! We are now targeting a jointly male and female market with the new site design!

  14. Post is definitely interesting. But I do not agree with one point wherein you have said that the world has yet to pay attention to the people involved in providing web solutions like web designers, developers, information architects, marketers, or other professionals. How? I don’t think so this is the case with us. Please elaborate more on this.

  15. “¦ What no one got the Strong Bad reference? Just a bit disappointed in the button that reads “View The Survey Findings”. It’s really not a big deal, just didn’t think it fits with the classy feel of ALA. Now I’ll go read the results.

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